Show Me The Money 5 winner, four awards under his belt, and on the verge of embarking on a North American tour: BewhY has been on the road to fame since 2016, and his rising success has not once faded. Let’s be fair, he deserves every ounce of attention he gets.
And so, with the release of his second full album since 2015 (finally!), you can guess just how many people were excited to hear what the rapper had to offer. Released in two parts, The Blind Star 0.5 on September 3 and the full release, The Blind Star, on September 17, the 11-track album serves to clearly state BewhY’s confidence in his craft as well as his ambitious streak.
The thing that I (surprisingly) personally enjoy most about The Blind Star is that it doesn’t veer much outside of hip-hop in terms of style, with only a few exceptions. It’s something that took me by surprise, honestly—I’m usually all about blending genres and styles, creating something new out of the combination of many beats and genres, but the uniformity of the album’s sound just works incredibly well. It puts a spotlight on BewhY’s performance, as well as the words he’s delivering. Thanks to that, each of the songs tells a part of the story The Blind Star carries. That isn’t to say that all the songs sound the same, but rather that there’s something that inherently belongs to hip-hop, alone as a genre, in each one of them.
The album opens with an intro and its continuing track, “Curtain Call” and “Red Carpet.” If you think the names sort of ring similar, you’re not wrong, as the songs also flow into each other almost as one. And it feels just like an intro, too; “Curtain Call” very much opens the curtain to the storytelling universe of The Blind Star, before “Red Carpet” takes over and adds a more rhythmic beat to the melody introduced in the intro. Produced by GRAY, the track is simply grand: the punching strings, the fast trap and dance influenced beat, the pounding bass; they all build the feeling of pride the lyrics also display. The song retells the dreams of a younger BewhY, paired with the achievements the rapper has accumulated over the past year, and serves both as a retrospective of his career and a hint at his current worries. “Even if I become an adult, I hope I’m still the same,” he says at the end—definitely not a foreign feeling for young people.
“Bichael Yackson” is just as overly confident and grandiose as its previous track, if the repeated line “I am the legend” wasn’t telling enough. But let me skip to the (brilliant) title track “9UCCI BANK,” which features Dok2. Again, we’re presented with that imposing kind of sound—in other words, the song goes hard. The orchestra-like brass at the beginning follows through the entire song, matched with a trap beat, gunshots (!), and BewhY’s lower tone that is almost intimidating. The distortion of the verse only adds to that haunting feel. Listening to the song almost gives you no choice but to pay attention to whatever BewhY is trying to tell you—which, in the end... isn’t all that impressive. Basically, BewhY’s rich, and he wants you to know it. But before you get bored, Dok2 comes in with his fast-flowing verse, and you’re entertained for a while. Yeah, he’s also boasting his big bucks, but sonically, it’s slightly more interesting and paces the song well. Overall, “9UCCI BANK” is interesting, if not for its lyrics then definitely for its composition.
Following that is a skit, “Broken Navigation,” before we get to one of my favorite tracks, “Rest Area” or “휴게소” in Korean. It is, arguably, more melodic than the tracks presented so far and has much more of a melancholic and retrospective touch to its lyrics. Released as a single in June, “Rest Area” introduces guitars and bass in a groovy yet nostalgic manner, before BewhY takes over with an almost spoken flow. Simply, BewhY tells a story through this song: he retells the fast pace of his career and the happenings he encounters on the road, before the chorus kicks in and reminds him—and, maybe, by the same occasion, the listener—to take a break, to rest a little. There’s also the burden of performing well, of constantly working hard, that’s presented through the lyrics—something many can relate to. I definitely do—maybe that’s why “Rest Area” is such a special song to me; it’s one of those songs that reminds you to stop for a minute and breathe, like a friendly reminder of sorts.
Another favorite of mine is “Wright Brothers.” It’s slightly more upbeat than the rest of the tracks and features C Jamm, a long-time friend of BewhY’s as well as one of my favorite rappers. The song pairs pop sounds with a predominantly hip-hop beat, without veering too much into the pop side. Yes, there’s a melody, but the rap is still the main focus throughout the song despite its brighter and catchier side. The chorus is peculiar, lyrically (and it’s kind of brilliant that way); the lyrics go, “Fly higher, Wright brothers,” referring to Orville and Wilbur Wright, considered to be the pioneers of aviation. The rest of the song, however, instead personifies BewhY’s Christian faith and the strength it gives him. I’m not Christian, but the concept of faith is something I relate to and often highly admire in songs—especially as it is shyly approached in popular music. C Jamm’s verse is no exception to the theme, which makes me think that maybe the Wright brothers reference represents the two and their shared faith. Something like that. It’s kind of beautiful, if I’m honest.
Of course, The Blind Star has much more to offer, but it’s hard to encompass the whole experience of listening to it into so few words (and I wrote a lot already, so). Though some songs shine brighter than others, it remains that the album is a neatly crafted work of art and deserves a good listen or two, in order to get rightfully immersed in the music and the lyrics.